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Lawyers for father and son, Gregory and Travis McMichael, asked for a judge to grant bond for the pair, saying the elder McMichael was not motivated by race and that the younger man, never gets into trouble. But Judge Timothy Walmsley on Friday denied their requests.
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None of the three men were arrested for the killing for 10 weeks during which two district attorneys recused themselves, and an investigation by local authorities produced no charges. It wasn’t until May 7, two days after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case that the McMichaels were taken into custody and charged with murder and aggravated assault. Bryan was charged days later.
The GBI is investigating the handling of the case by local prosecutors.
The deadly confrontation gained national attention after Bryan’s video was leaked to the public and posted online in May. By then Arbery’s death added to the national outcry that was already forcing a national reckoning on race and police brutality after the killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors on Thursday offered evidence that the younger McMichael was prone to using racial epithets online and in texts. Travis McMichael’s longtime friend, Zachary Langford, was asked to testify about an October 2019 Facebook post by McMichael that read, «Sayonara» and used an offensive term for Asians.
Langford said he could not recall the post.
He was also asked about a text from the younger McMichael sent about a year ago. In it McMichael made a reference to «shooting a crackhead [offensive term for a Black person] with gold teeth and a Hi Point .45.»
Langford testified that he did not remember the text but when shown evidence he had responded to the message, he said McMichael «was referring to a raccoon.» Even when pressed about the details of the text, including the «crackhead» and «gold teeth» comments, Langford maintained McMichael was writing about an animal.
Attorneys for both of the McMichaels urged Judge Timothy Walmsley to set bond, saying the case has nothing to do with the fact that Arbery was Black.
«This case isn’t about race, your honor,» said Laura Hogue, who represents Gregory McMichael.
«This case in the indictment is about whether or not the private citizen’s arrest law … allowed Greg McMichael to do what he chose to do that day, for the sole purpose of defending his family, and his property and his community,» she argued.
Meanwhile, Robert Rubin, one of Travis McMichael’s defense attorneys, said his client was an asset to the community.
«He’s proven that by always being employed, paying his taxes, never getting in trouble, never confronting people unless he himself is put in danger. And that was one time, by one man, named Ahmaud Arbery. And actually, Mr. Arbery confronted him twice,» Rubin said.
- Travis McMichael
- Gregory McMichael
- georgia bureau of investigation
- Ahmaud Arbery